I am a proud viewer of all sorts of lowest common denominator television, but for some reason, the Bachelor/Bachelorette empire has never been able to hold my attention. Fortunately, L Magazine intern Liz Kilduff is here to make up for my shortcomings. After the jump, her recap of last night's episode of The Bachelorette.
Some interesting things happened on The Bachelorette this week. First, I learned that I can sort of successfully cook an artichoke during the commercial breaks, and second, Jillian made a few tactful adjustments to her boy hunting strategy. No, she hasn’t stopped making out with everyone, but she has begun to harness the power of gender roles to an emasculating effect.
Take her first date, a solo with Ed, the bulky technology consultant. It began with a ride in a helicopter, a tired Bachelor topos that I have yet to find even remotely romantic. The couple then engaged in some bizarre, purposeless activity where they were slowly lowered from the top of a building along a length of rope fixed at an angle. Things began to get interesting in the following pool scene, when the camera framed an underwater shot of Jillian’s legs encircling Ed’s torso while she was pinned to the pool wall—a not-so-subtle nod to the infamous hot tub scene from last season’s Bachelor.
But this visual cue proved to be a harbinger not of Jillian’s continuing naivete, but rather her inauguration as HBIC (Head Bitch In Charge). Afterwards, during a candlelit dinner, Jillian showed unprecedented confidence and acumen when she asked Ed, who’d been busy babbling about his career, “Do you have any questions for me?” to which Ed, befuddled at the prospect of taking on her role—the female role—in the conversation, sheepishly asked if he was going to get a rose. He does, but it feels like charity.
For the second date, Jillian enlisted eleven of her suitors to act in a Western movie with a campy script that called for so much nonsensical kissing that if you replaced the stage direction ‘kiss’ with ‘have sex’ it would have been a Western porno. Not surprisingly, all the "acting" made the boys jealous, and Country Singer Wes pulled Jillian aside to tell her how he felt. Once again, Jill played it like a bro and gave the cocky Wes some bullshit line like "just keep being yourself" and left it at that. Wes skulked back to the set and Jillian got back to smooching. When it was Bartender Robby’s chance to lock lips for the camera, he literally swept Jillian off her feet, lifting her up into his embrace and spinning her around. He garnered a rose for his gentlemanly gesture.
On the next solo date, Jillian took Gary Busey Teeth Sasha to a car museum. He got to drive a Ferrari, but he didn’t get a rose. This was the first time Jillian had axed a solo date, and although she admitted to feeling guilty, it’s clear she felt emboldened by her decision.
At the pre-game cocktail party before the rose ceremony, the pressure was on to secure quality alone time with Jillian. Unfortunately, the heightened stress levels got to Scary Eyes David, whose eyes, upon close inspection, appear not to blink at the same time nor rest deeply enough in their sockets. When David’s rival, Juan, who has an equally strange pair of puffy, tired eyes, interrupted an intimate moment between David and Jillian, it incited a confrontation that involved a lot of scary eye staring, but unfortunately, nary a black eye. Tanner P., who is quickly becoming the face of the marginalized foot fetish minority, arrived to dissolve the tension onscreen by once again confessing his desire to suck on Jillian’s toes and then pantomiming it for the camera.
In the end, Brad and Tanner F., perhaps the most forgettable bachelors of the group were given their long overdue notice to leave. A few insipid suitors remain, namely Jesse, Mark and Mike, but it’s likely they will be ditched over the course of the next two eliminations. However, considering Jillian seems to be developing a better sense of judgment and tact, she may use the upcoming eliminations to get rid of a one of the undesirables: Country Singer Wes, who played a catchy guitar ballad he wrote for Jillian enough times to infect the psyche of the ABC viewership (listen here), and the optical opposites David and Juan, whose ‘windows to the soul’ betray suppressed rage and dishonesty, respectively. Pilot Jake, who baited Jillian last week with his abs and Southern virtue, was the first to get a rose at the ceremony this week and, though it’s still early, I think he’s a shoe-in for the final three. But, if I know ABC’s producers, they’ll keep a baddie on board well into the final eliminations.